Fatal US Destroyer Collision Caused by 'Sudden Turn' -Singapore
A U.S. guided missile destroyer's deadly collision with an oil tanker near Singapore in 2017 was caused by "a sudden turn" made by the warship that put it in the path of the commercial vessel, said a report by the Singapore government on Thursday. The collision on Aug. 21, which killed 10 sailors and was one of a handful of incidents in the Asia Pacific region involving U.S. Navy warships, raised questions about Navy training and led to the removal of a number of officers. "The…
North Korea Launches Ferry Service to Russia
North Korea launched a ferry service to the Russian city of Vladivostok on Wednesday to develop links and boost economic cooperation, the North's state media said, as it faces increasing isolation over its weapons development. Experts have said North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, may be hoping closer ties with Russia would help if China, the North's main economic benefactor, steps up sanctions against it over its weapons programmes, in defiance of U.N. resolutions. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that while Moscow was opposed to any new countries acquiring nuclear weapons…
Typhoon Chaba Disrupts South Korean Port Ops
Typhoon Chaba battered southern parts of South Korea with violent wind and heavy rain on Wednesday, killing at least three people and flooding the country's main port and industrial sites and disrupting production at some factories. The storm hit the island of Jeju overnight and one person was reported missing amid widespread power outages and damage to homes and other buildings. Twenty-six flights linking the holiday island to the mainland and to China were cancelled. The port in the city of Busan was shut for a second day as Chaba whirled past and headed east towards Japan. An official at the country's biggest port said it was expected to reopen later in the day.
North Korea Fires Missiles in Show of Force
Missiles flew far enough to reach any part of S.Korea. North Korea fired three ballistic missiles on Tuesday which flew between 500 and 600 km (300-360 miles) into the sea off its east coast, South Korea's military said, the latest in a series of provocative moves by the isolated country. The U.S. military said it detected launches of what it believed were two Scud missiles and one Rodong, a home-grown missile based on Soviet-era Scud technology. North Korea has fired both types numerous times in recent years, an indication that unlike recent launches that were seen as efforts by the North to improve its missile capability, Tuesday's were meant as a show of force.
S.Korea Issues New Sanctions Against N.Korea
South Korea said it would independently impose new sanctions against 40 individuals and 30 entities for Pyongyang's weapons programme and ban any vessels that had stopped at North Korean ports in the past 180 days. The decision to issue more unilateral sanctions against the North follow a U.N. Security Council resolution triggered by the isolate state's fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch last month. The sanctioned individuals include a Singaporean and a Taiwanese nationals. South Korea would also discontinue participation in a pilot project that brought Russian coal to South Korea through a North Korean port, Rajin, a foreign ministry told reporters in a joint briefing with other government agencies. Reporting by Ju-min Park and Jack Kim
North Korea: Action Against South's Navy Possible
North Korea's military warned on Friday of "unannounced targeted strikes" against South Korea's navy, accusing the South of violating its territorial waters off the peninsula's west coast, the scene of deadly naval clashes in the past. Pyongyang's warning came during the annual crab fishing season, which runs until June in the waters off the west coast of the Korean peninsula. Naval forces from the two Koreas clashed during the same month in 1999 and 2002, killing scores of sailors on both sides. In March 2010, a South Korean navy ship was hit by a torpedo and sank off the west coast, killing 46 sailors. Seoul blames the attack on the North, although Pyongyang has denied any role.
S.Korea to Pay $380,000 to Ferry Victims Families
The South Korean government said on Wednesday it would pay about 420 million won ($380,000) as compensation for each of the 250 students who died or remain missing from last year's ferry disaster, in the first settlement offer to victims' families. The families of 11 teachers who died in the disaster will each receive about 760 million won, the higher amount to account for lost income, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said. Other passengers will receive between 150 million won and 600 million won, depending on their age and income, it said. More than two-thirds of the 476 passengers on board the doomed Sewol ferry were students on a school trip. Many of them died trapped in the vessel following orders by the crew to stay in their cabins as it capsized and sank on April 16 last year.
Weather Hampers Search for Missing After Korean Trawler Sinks
More than 50 people remain missing a day after a South Korean fishing vessel sank in the Bering Sea off the coast of Russia's far eastern Chukotka region as severe weather conditions hampered a rescue operation, officials said on Tuesday. Eight people - a Russian official, a South Korean crew member, three Filipinos and three Indonesians - have been pulled from the water although the South Korean died of hypothermia, officials in Seoul said. U.S. rescue helicopters joined the search operation for several hours on Tuesday but failed to make headway, South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won told a meeting of government officials. The South Korean government and Sajo Industries…
One dead, Dozens Missing as S.Korean Vessel Sinks
One person was killed and the fate of more than 50 others was unknown after a South Korean fishing vessel sank in the Bering Sea off the coast of Russia's far eastern Chukotka region officials said on Monday. "When the fish were being hauled in, the vessel was hit by a wave," said Artur Rets, the head of the maritime rescue service in Russia's far eastern port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, adding the South Korean vessel Oriong-501 had sunk at 0530 GMT. He said rescuers had managed to pull eight people out of the water so far, including one who had died. "According to our data there were 62 people on board," Rets said. The South Korean fisheries ministry said the 36-year-old vessel operated by Sajo Industries had 60 people on board…
New Agency to Replace S. Korea Coast Guard after Ferry Disaster
South Korea launches a massive new government agency this week to handle emergency rescue and safety management seven months after a ferry disaster killed 304 people and was blamed by President Park Geun-hye on a failed response by the coast guard. The coast guard is being broken up and its search and rescue duties are being moved to the new National Safety Agency that will have more than 10,000 staff and incorporate fire and emergency response teams, the government said on Tuesday.
South Korean Ferry Captain Sentenced to 36 Years
The captain of a South Korean ferry that capsized in April killing 304 passengers was jailed for 36 years on November 11, 2014, after a court found him guilty of negligence, but was acquitted of homicide for which prosecutors had sought the death penalty. The court convicted the ship's chief engineer of homicide for not aiding two injured fellow crew members, making him the only one of four facing homicide charges to be found guilty on that count, and sentenced him to 30 years in prison.
South, North Korea Exchange Naval Fire
A South Korean naval ship fired warning shots on Tuesday after a North Korean patrol boat crossed a disputed sea border off the peninsula's west coast and fired shots back before retreating, a South Korean defence official said. There were no casualties on the South Korean side, he told Reuters. The area has been the scene of clashes in the past that killed scores of sailors on both sides, with North Korean vessels frequently crossing the so-called Northern Limit Line, which it refuses to recognise as a maritime border. Reporting by Jack Kim
Families of S.Korea Ferry Dead March on Presidential Palace
Parents of children killed when a passenger ferry sank last month led a sombre march on South Korea's presidential palace in the early hours of Friday morning, where they demanded to meet with President Park Geun-hye. Clutching memorial portraits of their children, family members and grieving parents were prevented by riot police from nearing the palace, and instead sat in the middle of the road where they sobbed, wailed and shouted in anger. "Listen to us, President Park. Just give us ten seconds!," one family member said, using a portable address system. "Why are you blocking the way?," said another. Seated on the ground in the middle of the night, they wore beige blankets and huddled in rows on the cold floor.
Korean Coast Guard to be Broken Up
South Korean President Park Geun-hye formally apologized on Monday for a ferry disaster last month that killed about 300 passengers, mostly school children, and said she would break up the coast guard because it had failed in its rescue mission. Park has been hit hard by an angry nation-wide outcry over the government's response to South Korea's worst civilian maritime disaster in 20 years and the seemingly slow and ineffective rescue operation. Polls show support for Park has dropped by more than 20 points since the April 16 disaster.
South Korea's Park Apologizes for Ferry Disaster
South Korean president apologizes, vows tough punishment. South Korean President Park Geun-hye, tears rolling down her cheeks, formally apologized on Monday for a ferry disaster that killed about 300 people, mostly school children, and said she would dismantle the coast guard for failing in its duties. Park has been hit hard by an angry nationwide outcry over the government's response to South Korea's worst civilian maritime disaster in 20 years and the seemingly slow and ineffective rescue operation. Polls show support for Park has dropped by more than 20 points since the April 16 disaster. "I apologize to the nation for the pain and suffering that everyone felt…
Second Diver Dies in Korea Ferry Search
A diver searching for bodies in a sunken ferry died on Friday after an accident, the coast guard said, as a car believed to be used by a fugitive businessman linked to the ship was reported found. The diver was pulled from the water where he was involved in the cutting open of the hull in the hope of reaching some of 16 people missing 45 days after the vessel sank, a coast guard official said. The man, in his forties, was bleeding from the face and unconscious when he was pulled to the surface and died in hospital, the official said. He was the second diver to die since the April 16 disaster.
South Korea's Bizarre Manhunt for Ferry Family Boss
South Korea's biggest and most bizarre manhunt, linked to a ferry disaster in which hundreds drowned, has come full circle at the compound of a sect known for its organic ice cream as police on Thursday used earth movers to search for tunnels. Police have raided the grounds of the Evangelical Baptist Church in Anseong, a two-hour drive south of Seoul, twice as they try to flush out church co-founder Yoo Byung-un, 73, South Korea's most wanted man since the Sewol ferry sank in April killing more than 300 people, mostly children from the same school. But, so far, Yoo, a businessman and photographer who was once jailed for fraud, has eluded capture in a case which has become an embarrassment for authorities already under pressure for their handling of the disaster.
Ferry Family Boss Eludes South Korea Manhunt
South Korea's biggest and most bizarre manhunt, linked to a ferry disaster in which hundreds drowned, has come full circle at the compound of a sect known for its organic ice cream as police on Thursday used earth movers to search for tunnels. Police have raided the grounds of the Evangelical Baptist Church in Anseong, a two-hour drive south of Seoul, twice as they try to flush out church co-founder Yoo Byung-un, 73, South Korea's most wanted man since the Sewol ferry sank in April killing more than 300 people, mostly children from the same school.
Divers struggle in search for ferry survivors
Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds of people, most of them teenagers from the same school, still missing after a South Korean ferry capsized on Wednesday. Coastguard, navy and private divers scoured the site of the accident, about 20 km (12 miles) off the country's southwestern coast. Earlier, rescue teams hammered on the hull of the upturned, mostly submerged vessel, hoping for a response from anyone trapped inside, but they heard nothing, local media reported. The vessel, carrying 475 passengers and crew, capsized during a journey from the port of Incheon to the holiday island of Jeju. Coastguards recovered five more bodies late on Thursday, raising the death toll to 14 people.
Vice-Principal Of S.Korea School In Ferry Disaster Commits Suicide
The vice-principal of a South Korean high school who accompanied hundreds of pupils on a ferry that capsized has committed suicide, police said on Friday, as hopes faded of finding any of the 268 missing alive. The Sewol, carrying 475 passengers and crew, capsized on Wednesday on a journey from the port of Incheon to the southern holiday island of Jeju. Kang Min-gyu, 52, had been missing since Thursday. He appeared to have hanged himself with his belt from a tree outside a gym in the port city of Jindo where relatives of the people missing on the ship, mostly children from the school, were gathered. Police said Kang did not leave a suicide note and that they started looking for him after he was reported missing by a fellow teacher. He was rescued from the ferry after it capsized.
Crewman Claims Ferry Captain "Rushed Back To Bridge"
The captain of a South Korean ferry that capsized two days ago rushed back to the bridge after it started listing severely and tried in vain to right the vessel, one of the helmsmen on the ship said on Friday. A junior officer was steering the Sewol ferry when it capsized on Wednesday, leaving 28 people officially declared dead and 268 missing, almost all of them high school students. Divers are fighting strong tides and murky waters to get to the sunken ship but hopes are fading of finding any of the missing alive. "I'm not sure where the captain was before the accident. However right after the accident, I saw him rushing back into the steering house ahead of me," said Oh Young-seok, one of the helmsmen on the ship who was off duty and resting at the time.
Life Rafts Not Functioning On Sunk Ferry's Sister Ship
South Korean investigators said on Friday that life rafts and escape chutes on a sister ship to a sunken ferry were not working properly. The Sewol ferry, weighing almost 7,000 tons, sank on a routine trip from the port of Incheon, near Seoul, to the southern holiday island of Jeju. Investigations are focused on human error and mechanical failure. More than 300 people, most of them students and teachers from the Danwon High School near Seoul, are dead or missing presumed dead after the April 16 disaster. The confirmed death toll on Friday was 181.
Korea Ferry Disaster Points Up Cronyism
A culture of cosy personal ties that can blur the lines between businesses and those regulating them, of profit over safety, and soft courts is in focus as South Korea demands answers over the sinking of a ferry with the loss of more than 300 lives, mainly high school students. Prosecutors are investigating two shipping trade organisations responsible for vessel safety checks and for certifying ships that operate in domestic waters. Two officials at the Korea Shipping Association…